Monday, July 23, 2018

What kinds of necessary elective surgery can be disruptive to productive seniors who live alone?

One big concern for a retired person who lives alone and needs to keep his own systems running (that is, in my case, a set of blogs), a major concern would be any elective surgery that requires any extended hospital stay or rehabilitation away from home (Medicare pays for 20 days, and typically most supplements handle up to about 100).  This can potentially become a very big deal.

Once you reach my age (75) there are really not that many situations where this is all that likely.  I don’t see ever having a bone marrow transplant.  But it is true that invasive procedures (like coronary bypass surgery) can extend lives considerably in many elderly;  when I was growing up they were not possible, so I did not internalize the idea of facing this.

In fact, my own mother had triple bypass surgery at age 85 in May, 1999 and I did not realize this was even possible at her age when it was proposed. She would have eight good years, and three more not so good.

The official cause of her passing in 2010 was aortic stenosis.  That means it is in the family, maybe.
Barbara Walters, former ABC 2020 host, had aortic value replacement surgery in the summer of 2010. She had reported some shortness of breath on climbing.  She reported that after the surgery she was quite weak for some time, and needed the summer before returning to any work.

The condition is likely to be confirmed by an echocardiogram even after minimal symptoms.
Sometimes lathroscopic surgery, which is much less invasive (through the groin) is possible for some of these problems, with a much shorter recovery.

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